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How to Make Old-Looking Furniture

Quality antiques can be hard to find and expensive to buy, but the good thing about classic styles is that they always come back around. To save money without scaling back on your tastes, you can purchase inexpensive wooden furniture that replicates the basic look and design of almost any era. With a little creative finishing, you can "antique" the new pieces so that they resemble a pedigreed, old-world piece of furniture.

Things You'll Need

  • Emery cloth
  • Tack cloth
  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Clean rags
  • Furniture polish
  • Paste wax
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    • 1

      Sand off the gloss coat of your furniture by hand with an emery cloth. This will remove the decidedly new look of high gloss and improve the adherence of the new finish. Wipe the piece down with a tack cloth to remove the dust. Clean the piece with a rag dampened in odorless mineral spirits to further break down the finish, but not remove it. Allow the furniture to sit until it is dry to the touch.

    • 2

      Use a clean, soft rag to apply a coat of colored furniture polish in your choice of color. Choose a color that complements, but is just slightly darker than the original color to add artificial patina, or age. Wipe the polish on with one rag and wipe off the excess with a second, using a buffing motion. Allow this to sit until it is dry to the touch.

    • 3

      Apply a coat of paste wax. Use furniture wax, if you have it handy, or auto paste wax, which is available in any discount store or auto supply. Dampen the wax, and apply it with the foam applicator that comes in the package. Wipe on a thick layer, and spread it over the surface. Focus on covering every inch of the furniture. Allow the paste to sit until it dries to a haze. With a clean rag, buff the haze off to a low-gloss shine. Add two or three more coats in the same way.

    • 4

      Maintain the finish using the same color of furniture polish applied with a cotton swab to scratches and small dings. Add more paste wax, as specified above, periodically to protect the wood.